It’s been a while since I’ve last written a blog post, and it isn’t that I’ve had nothing to say, but sheer laziness when it comes to writing blog posts has really been my enemy.
Anyway, these past two weeks have been stressful, and really-so stressful the words just aren’t flowing. Usually pain gives my writing a little boost, but this time, words seem to elude me, so hopefully they will come the longer I sit here and write.
Last Wednesday I woke to a text on my phone. “Maria Tiberi was killed in a car accident last night.” See story here. It was simple, it was devastating, and it absolutely had to be a mistake. I’m no stranger to death, and unfortunately I’m not a stranger to death of a close loved one, but this hit me hard. She was only 21, had her whole life ahead of her, and she was my cousin. A cousin I had babysat countless times, who meant more to me than she would ever know.
My beautiful cousin, Maria.
As I sat through the funeral, and the things her father, brother, sister, and boyfriend had to say about her, I was struck-not just with sadness, but with just how much she reminded me of myself, deep down underneath, and how they could have been describing my youngest daughter almost exactly.
But what really struck me? How much time we DON’T have, and how there’s no way of knowing just how much. As my thoughts now begin to settle and coalesce into some semblance of coherency, certain aspects of my life are becoming much more clear. Some are painful, and some are peaceful. Some I will struggle with until I take my last breath. I had some time to reflect while on a recent trip as well, and these are what I came up with.
1) Be yourself. Yes, it sounds like something we learned in kindergarten, but hear me out. Most people go through life trying to please other people with what they think those people want them to be. But guess what? In the long run it doesn’t work. I myself am guilty of this in spades. Sure, we have obligations, but how many of them are worthwhile? How many of these obligations will only eventually hurt us? When is it time to just be honest? I’m going to stop trying to be who I think people want me to be, and just drop the pretenses. Or at least I’m going to work on it.
2) Stop pretending, and speak up. This goes with the above point, but it’s still valid. Pretending is really a way of prolonging the pain, or a situation that’s unhealthy to begin with. Does something bother you, I mean-really bother you? Then say it. I’m not saying to sweat the small stuff and complain about everything, but if it’s really something important to you, then say so. You may hurt someone’s feelings, but most of the time-if it’s important and you are important to each other- then they will most likely appreciate your honesty. This was something Maria was good at, and something I still struggle with. But I’m working on it.
3) I really have not accomplished as much as I would have liked by this stage in my life. I really wish I had worked harder. I’m not trying to get down on myself too much, but I’m being realistic. I’m not saying I haven’t accomplished anything, but I don’t feel it’s enough. Specifically, I should have buckled down harder and just plugged away nonstop on all my pilot ratings and certificates. Sure, a private pilot certificate and instrument rating is great, but I failed at realizing my dream of flying jets. Will it ever happen? Is it too late? I honestly don’t know, and I hope not, but it’s a serious regret I have.
It really hit me full force on my trip, as I sat in the 737 and the full weight of the fact that I don’t fly the way I had set out to fly really stings. As a matter of fact, I was reminded a few times of this shortcoming on this trip-the rest is what I keep churning in my head. Will the constant churning make me more productive? Time will tell.
There are several other things I wish I had been more successful at doing, but I will save that for another time.
Melanie in what is unfortunately not a 737.
4) If I want something, I can’t rely on anyone else. I have to make it happen. Sure, people may help along the way, but I can’t put my faith in others, really. Other people? Some love me, some say they do, some are out to hurt me, and the majority just doesn’t care.
5) People will cause pain-they are human that way. I can be as honest as I want about something that bothers me, but in the end, someone I love may do it anyway-knowing full well it’s something that bothers me. So, I have a few choices. If it’s a small thing, and they rectify it, I can let it go. If it’s a big thing, and they don’t care that it hurts me, I can let them go. But, I can’t expect people to read my mind. Maria seemed to be an expert at this. She rarely held a grudge, but she didn’t let people take advantage of her, either.
6) Certain people aren’t worth the time. Are they completely full of drama? Do they drain my energy? Do I feel worse after having been with them or talking with them? Do they bring anything of value to the current relationship? I think we all have a few of these people hanging around.
7) Just go for it. If I want to do something, the only thing stopping me-really stopping me- is me (and I guess in some cases common sense and the law), but I’m not getting any younger. So yes, I’m going to do that marathon in three weeks, and while I may not kick ass, I will finish (and save the ass kicking performance for next year.) I will also have fun doing it.
So, Maria, you may be gone, but your impact on my life is greater than you could have ever imagined.
Sail on, sweet pirate. I will meet you on the horizon someday, where sea and sky meet.